Current VPA News
Todd Conover

Recent work by artists Todd Conover and Ann Clarke will be exhibited in “Live to Make” Dec. 7-Jan. 11 at 914Works, 914 E. Genesee St., Syracuse. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 6-9 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Conover and Clarke are both faculty members at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). The exhibition is designed by Jeffrey Mayer, also a VPA faculty member.

Conover and Clarke share a passion—arguably obsession—for their respective materials, metal and fibers, as well as the practice of studio work itself. Both artists are also inspired by nature and memory inclusive of references to the history of the materials and techniques they use.

Conover has taught at Syracuse University since 1995 and is an assistant professor of fashion design in VPA’s School of Design. From 2012-16 he served as program coordinator of the fashion design program. From 1992-2008 he was co-designer/owner with Mayer of Conover Mayer, a high-end fashion line that was carried by boutique stores nationwide and retailers Bergdorf Goodman and Nieman Marcus. A trained metalsmith, Conover now focuses on one-of-a-kind art jewelry and vessels, exhibiting and selling his work nationally in museum and gallery shows.

“With a mix of unexpected yet related materials, my jewelry tends to be overtly bold with inspiration harnessed from natural forms that will highlight surface and materials,” says Conover. “Color is added by the use of freeform shaped cabochons of rock, gemstones and glass as well as ancient patina techniques.”

Clarke is an associate professor of studio arts in VPA’s School of Art and dean emerita (2008-16) of VPA. She joined Syracuse University in 1998 as a faculty member in fiber arts/material studies, served as chair of the Department of Art from 2005-07, and was named VPA’s associate dean of the visual arts in 2007. Clarke has returned to teaching and her studio practice and has exhibited widely. Her work is featured in many private collections and has been published extensively. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and printmaking from the University of Michigan and a master of fine arts degree in textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Ann Clarke

“The constants in my work are telling a story with image and color,” says Clarke. “The themes I cycle through are family history, nature, literary references (poetry and fiction) and stories from the world news. I begin with the story. I am thrilled to have returned to both teaching and my studio practice.”

Mayer is a professor and program coordinator of fashion design in VPA’s School of Design. He teaches fashion, fashion history and textiles and is the curator of the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection, which is housed within the School of Design. He recently published “Vintage Details: A Fashion Sourcebook” (Laurence King Publishing, 2016), written with Basia Szkutnicka, to wide acclaim. “Vintage Details” is a stunning collection of more than 550 beautifully photographed details from previously unseen 20th-century vintage clothing.

In 2008 Mayer mounted a major historic fashion exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, “Marie Antoinette: Styling the 18th Century Superstar,” with an accompanying book of the same title. Exhibitions that followed included “Marlo Thomas as That Girl,” “Christian Dior 1947-1957,” “Emilio Pucci: Master of Print Design,” as well as “Styling an American Family, the 1910s at Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Farms,” which was shown at the Craftsman Farms Museum in Morris Plains, N.J. This final exhibition formed the nucleus for a major 2013 exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse titled “An American Look: Fashion, Decorative Arts and Gustav Stickley.” Mayer has also curated the exhibition “Fashion After Five: The Clothes and Culture of the Cocktail Hour” at the Onondaga Historical Society in Syracuse.

914Works is an intimate gallery space in VPA. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The gallery is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. For more information, email 914works@syr.edu.